Without the demand to keep a schedule, my sleeping habits haven't really changed, but awakening is different. What I do after I awake has no pressure to accomplish something, or the demand to not disturb my sleeping schedule with the consequence of being sleep deprived on Monday.
I awoke about 3:00 am, made some hot tea, and went out on the porch. The night was the type of still that only living in a rural area can provide. The cold night air was only a stirring that changed directions as I sat. The air had the smell of impending rain, and the sudden cooling of the breeze confirmed showers were about to arrive, or were passing closely.
As I sat, a lone dog barked in the distance; the bark of concern, and surprise. Something disturbed its sleep, and it was voicing its concern. It continued for awhile, and stopped to reveal a quiet I missed while living in a city. There was no rumble of a refinery, the passing of a car, or the noises of an awakening city. It was the quiet that a conversation could have been heard from hundreds of feet, or would reveal the sound of footsteps from far away.
I've spent all of my adult life with thoughts about what I need to have ready, or worrying if I missed something that would lead to disaster on the job. A vacation would offer some relief, but I knew there would be some overlooked item that need to be caught up on, when I returned.
A phone call from work was always dreaded, because it was never to announce something good. A phone call from one of my employees rarely was to ask for clarity on where to be on Monday. Their phone usually meant juggling tasks on Monday due to their "forgotten" appointment, or their illness.
I like this new freedom, and I like the quiet of the night. I'll enjoy them both, and allow my years of stress to drain away.